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The Social Media transformation of Public Relations

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Just like everything else, PR has evolved with time. With the advancement of technology and emergence of social media, it has been realised that PR as a discipline has transformed dramatically. Long gone are those days when PR professionals were solely dependent on the traditional media – newspaper, TV or radio – to boost brand positioning. As technology developed so have the avenues of PR and communication.

On a visceral level, the way audiences are exposed to content and how they choose to engage with businesses/brands has changed significantly. Marketing gurus are of the opinion that the emergence of social channels has been responsible for changing the way news is consumed and the kind of content in use to entice the consumers. In fact, many feel that the rise of social channels is, to an extent, resulted in diminishing the attention span of the audiences.

While few believe that social media has changed the core functionality of PR firms, some claimed that these platforms have had a profound effect on the industry as a whole as they create new opportunities for businesses to connect with target audiences. In simple words, social media lets the brands and consumers to opt for real-time engagement, which has in turn led to an enhanced demand for conglomerates to address consumer issues quickly and efficiently.

For all discussions revolving around social media effects and how it has fundamentally changed the way businesses operate, prominent PR agencies say that social has driven the emergence of powerful and resourceful digital influencers for brands to connect and collaborate with. This explains why enterprises, regardless of size, are all over it.

With the advancement of the digital technology emerging as a core area for every industry, social media has evolved from being a mere networking tool to a marketing function. Furthermore, the media helps conglomerates to embrace smart technology.

There’s no doubt that social media has eased communications. At the same time, it has also optimised business strategies, forcing PR firms to enhance their responsibilities.

Understanding that social channels will continue to influence the PR consulting agencies in the coming days as well, below are some of the possible ways that social media has impacted and transformed PR.

Also Read: How to choose social channels most suitable for your business

  • Turnaround time

The life span of news stories has shortened with digital media, pushing media practitioners to turnaround stories in a shorter time span.  This has compelled PR to maintain pace with the latest trends and upheavals. Real time has assumed relevance. Social media is the most common method leveraged to contact media professionals after email and phone.

In fact, journalists are more receptive to being contacted on social media.

  • Role of PR

Like it or not, social has changed the work PR does to some extent. Besides pitching stories, developing, disbursing press releases and maintaining relationships with media outlets, it has pushed PR agencies to build the voice of a brand via content sharing and online reputation. This is one of the reasons the PR tool encompasses of multiple and variety of tasks – content promotion, publishing, media monitoring, community engagement etc.

  • Connecting with the consumers

For the majority of PR professionals, journalists are still the key channel of communication and are happy to maintain a relationship with the audience. This is one of the reasons why PR firms are optimistic about the role of social as it allows them to directly engage with the consumers.

  • Content publishing

Thanks to social media, press releases are being pressed for tactical approach to get noticed. Most PR firms leverage social media for content publishing purpose. In the recent times, PR companies have displayed an inclination to share posts on Twitter and publish original comments on the networking channels.

Since social platforms no longer just focus upon pushing news/information to the end users/audiences, PR has been maximising its use for driving conversations. Irrespective of the type of content – corporate announcement, press release etc – social media has become a part of the integrated content marketing mix.

Also Read: Content Marketing: Time to grow up?

  • Communication is a two-way street

Social allows the brands to communicate on a direct basis with the audiences. Key platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have helped PR to undertake an in-depth evaluation of a campaign away from the print impressions or enhanced sales. Real-time consumer feedback lets businesses to judge sentiment and relate to their audiences, which was not achievable in the past.


Social is always exciting, media furthermore. Social media has infused new life in PR. At the same time it can’t replace PR. The advent of radio didn’t impact the relevance of newspaper and TV didn’t make radio less important. The crux of the matter is social won’t impact the functioning of existing communications activity.

However, PR industry needs to master the art of leveraging social to its full potential.

Also Read: Hottest PR strategies of 2016 every business should practice

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